Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Relief with the head of a female personification of an estate

Old Kingdom
Dynasty 4
reign of Khufu
ca. 2551–2528 B.C.
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, Pyramid Temple of Amenemhat I, west side of core, MMA excavations, 1920–22
h. 30 cm (11 13/16 in); w. 22 cm (8 11/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1922
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 103
This upper part of a female figure is the personification of one of Khufu's agricultural estates. The placement of the pharaoh's name on a crossbar with feathery protrusions in front and streamers at the back indicates that the figure has been assimilated to a standard, an emblem on a pole used to designate administrative entities. With the hieroglyphs behind the head, the name of the estate can be read
"Perfect is Khufu."

Estates were either extant or newly established settlements dedicated to providing for the funerary cult of the founder or for a temple. Rows of estate personifications lining the walls of Old Kingdom pyramid temples represented the provisioning of the king's eternity.

The relief owes its dense, cohesive quality to the low rounded carving employed equally for the contour edges and for minute details.
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Perfect is Khufu
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920-22. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1922.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 63.

Jacquet-Gordon, Helen K. 1962. Les noms des domains funeraires sous l'Ancien Empire, Bibliothèque d'étude, 34. Cairo: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale du Caire, p. 138.

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